When I was praying the other day, the Lord gave me a great reminder. He said, “Enter My gates with gladness.” I had been praying with thanksgiving and gratitude first but I had not been praising Him with my normal church-like praise session. Years ago I had started seeing a big change in my prayer life when I added praise to it. Praise leads to prayer for me. I start with lifting up the Lord and getting a strong dose of His gladness. I remember the first few times this happened when I was in college. It felt like I had never prayed before. It was such a shock to my little religious mind. I loved it. It was exactly what I had been missing and praising the Lord was the key to unlocking the power of prayer. The Lord tells us that He inhabits the praises of His people. That truth will revolutionize your life when you embrace it. It is crucial to praise the Lord and entering into prayer with praise is a beautiful way to communicate with Jesus. He shows up and He blesses us when we praise Him. If you haven’t entered His gates with gladness and praise, I strongly encourage you to start today. Don’t wait. Your praises will enhance your prayer experience. You will never pray the same way again!
“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.”* Yesterday I talked about worship being a position of reverence before God. It can be done through music and singing as well but the disposition of worship is a disposition of our heart. It is the welcoming of the Lord as our supreme Savior and it is honoring Him knowing that we are small and that He is larger than life. Gladness should be attached to worship. The Lord is a joyful God and we have so much to rejoice over because of Him. When we enter His gates, when we go into prayer, gladness should always be part of the process. Sometimes I have to pump it up and get the level of joy higher. Sometimes I almost force myself but the reality is that the joy of the Lord is in me. I just have to dig it out at times. We all have the joy of the Lord in us as believers. It is a fruit of the Spirit. It might not be very developed but it is there and the Lord wants us to express it and to make it part of our praise and prayer time. When we praise Him, we invite Him and we give Him the floor. I have found that many times when I am praising the Lord, He gently interrupts me with encouragement and with amazing messages. He fills my heart with more joy and He gives me peace that surpasses all understanding. He is so good and so generous. We are so blessed to have Him. Let’s celebrate Him as much as we can!
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”** I don’t want to stay on the threshold of the house of the Lord. I want to go in and enter with boldness. I don’t want to stand outside and look at His glory and at His beauty from a distance. I want to enter His gates and spend a great deal of time with Him. Like I said, praise and thanksgiving get me in. They allow me to go past the gates and the door and to dwell in the house of the Lord. Praise is extremely powerful and it is scriptural. Praying is essential but it is not enough. With the Lord we have, praise should always be part of the equation. I used to have prayer sessions that were more like prayer requests. I gave the Lord a laundry list of what I needed and then I would close the door to the basement and go on my merry way. Only having requests was like meeting God at a low level, in the basement, and not going into the rest of His house. At least that is how it felt to me. Let’s fling the gates wide open with our praise and thanksgiving. Let’s go in boldly with our declaration of love for Him.
My prayer for you is that you make praise part of your prayer time every day. I pray that you experience the Lord’s gladness and that you pray from a place of joy and peace and not from a place of fear and lack. You have everything you need with the Lord even if everything is not apparent in your life. It is all there and with faith it will all come to pass. Be glad and pray to God. Be thankful for Him and pray to God. Enter His gates with gladness! May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!
Suggested reading: Psalm 100:2*; Psalm 100:4**; Nehemiah 8:10